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      Sale 2255 | Lot 31
      Price Realized: $9,600With Buyer's Premium
      Show Hammer Price
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      • Sale 2255 Lot 31

        JOHN BIGGERS (1924 - 2001)
        Untitled (Seated Old Man).

        Pencil on illustration board, 1945. 579x451 mm; 22 3/4X17 3/4 inches. Signed in pencil, lower right recto. Dated "4--45" in pencil, lower left recto. Inscribed "John T. Biggers, Hampton Institute, Hampton, VA" in ink and "Lowenfeld 1405" in pencil, upper right verso.

        Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, Hampton University; thence by descent to the current owner, private collection.

        This remarkable early drawing by John Biggers was drawn while he was both enlisted and at Hampton Institute. This drawing is closely related to the oil painting Old Man, 1945, in the collection of the Hampton University Museum. Both works depict a stooped, bald and bearded man with huge folded and gnarled hands, portrayed against the background of a leaning, dilapidated wood structure.

        Biggers decided to become an artist upon taking an evening art class with Victor Lowenfeld in 1941 at Hampton Institute. Lowenfeld was a Jewish emigré, an Austrian artist and psychologist who fled his homeland to teach at Hampton. Biggers's education was interrupted by World War II and his resultant naval service in 1943. He was transferred to Hampton's U.S. Naval Training School, allowing him to continue working as an artist in the department studios on evenings and weekends. Biggers depicted the homeless and downtrodden he remembered from his youth in Gastonia, NC. Both Lowenfeld, and Charles White, who was an artist-in-residence at Hampton in 1943, encouraged Biggers's expressive Social Realism. Biggers was transferred to Norfolk, VA in 1945, where the segregation of the services caused him to suffer from depression; he was discharged by the end of the year. There are several important works dated from 1945, including the paintings Preacher Man, Sharecropper, Old Man and Old Coffee Drinker. The latter two were returned to Hampton University and restored after being rolled in the artist's mother's garage for over 50 years. Powell/Reynolds p. 178.

        Estimate $10,000 - 15,000

        Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $9,600